Thursday, August 09, 2007

Firefighters forced to join in 'Gay Pride' parade

File lawsuit against city after enduring 3 hours of lewd remarks, gestures

Four firefighters are suing the city of San Diego for being forced by their superiors to attend the annual "Gay Pride" parade where they endured a barrage of sexual taunts and lewd gestures. San Diego's fire chief, Tracy Jarman, is an open lesbian who called the July 21 parade a "fun event" in which "all employees are encouraged to participate." But the firefighters said, unlike previous years, they were ordered into uniform to participate in the parade in their fire truck, despite their repeated protests.

The firefighters' legal counsel, the Thomas More Law Center, said the men were "left with the Hobson's choice of either violating their conscience or being disciplined for disobeying a direct order." The firefighters, described as devoted husbands and fathers, said they were subject to the most vulgar kinds of sexual harassment. "You could not even look at the crowd without getting some type of sexual gesture," one said, adding, "If any crew member were to hang up pictures at the station of what we saw, we would be disciplined."

Over the course of three hours, they heard statements such as, "show me your hose," "you can put out my fire," "you're making me hot," "give me mouth-to-mouth," "you look hungry, why don't you have a twinkie (from a man wearing a "Girth and Mirth" t-shirt)," and "blow my hose." When they refused to respond to the crowd, some in the crowd turned hostile and started shouting, "F--- you firemen" and others began "flipping them off."

San Diego area attorney, Charles LiMandri, the West Coast director of the Thomas More Law Center, insists the city should have known from past experience "the kind of offensive activities that go on at this event." "This was a clear case of sexual harassment in violation of state and federal law as well as the City's own code of conduct," he said. LiMandri said the firefighters also were targets of sexual gestures, including exposure of genitals, blowing kisses, grabbing of the crotch, rubbing of nipples, tongue gestures and men hugging and kissing one another passionately - many wearing make-up and dressed like women.

Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center argued the constitutional right to free speech also protects the right not to speak. "These men should not have to explain to their families, friends and church congregations that their presence at a celebration of lewdness and obscenity in support of the homosexual agenda was because they were forced there by way of a direct order," he said. "This is a clear violation of their constitutional rights, and the city must be held accountable. It should never happen again to any city employee."

Jarman, the city fire chief, insisted when she was appointed that her homosexuality had never been an issue at the department. But Thompson maintained the firefighters' ordeal was "another example of how radical homosexual activists in positions of authority force their agenda on unwilling citizens." "Although the local media avoided mentioning the debauchery and the obscenity that pervaded the parade, the general public should know what went on and how these firefighters were forced to participate against their will," he said. As WND reported, prior to the parade, the San Diego City Council unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by Mayor Jerry Sanders to designate July as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month."


Muslims do not handle criticism well

After a police raid Friday at Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland, bakery employee Devaughndre Broussard admitted to murdering Chauncey Bailey, editor of the Oakland Post. Bailey was writing a series of investigative articles about the Bakery -- and that's why Broussard killed him.

Your Black Muslim Bakery is an outpost of the Nation of Islam, not of any orthodox Islamic sect, but in this murder Devaughndre Broussard followed a pattern that some orthodox Muslims have also followed. Violent reprisal has long been an occupational hazard of those who dare to question or investigate Islamic groups or criticize Islamic practices. Filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in November 2004 by a Muslim who took exception to his criticism of the oppression of women in Islamic societies. In 1992, Egyptian writer Faraj Foda was murdered by Muslims enraged at his "apostasy."

Bailey is not the first person in the U.S. to have been murdered by a Muslim who didn't like what he said. That distinction may belong to Rashad Khalifa, an unorthodox interpreter of the Qur'an who was murdered in Tucson in January 1990 -- probably by a member of the jihadist group Jamaat al-Fuqra. But Bailey's case is still singular. Much more common has been the practice of trying to intimidate critics into silence through legal threats.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has had great success with this over the years, although lately the tactic appears to be faltering. CAIR was unsuccessful in bullying the Young America's Foundation into canceling a talk by me last week. In 2006, CAIR dropped a lawsuit against Andrew Whitehead of Anti-CAIR after Mr. Whitehead's attorney asked a series of probing questions during the discovery process. But before that, CAIR successfully cowed National Review magazine, Fox's 24, and others into muting in various ways their criticism of Islamic violence and extremism.

Nor is CAIR alone among Muslims in its efforts at legal intimidation. Billionaire Saudi financier Khalid bin Mahfouz has sued journalist Rachel Ehrenfeld and others for libel in the U.K., where the libel laws favor plaintiffs. Ehrenfeld's offense? In her book Funding Evil, she wrote that bin Mahfouz was involved in funding Hamas and Al-Qaeda. Bin Mahfouz denied that he had knowingly given any money to either. Cambridge University Press has, in response to another libel suit filed by bin Mahfouz, just removed from circulation and destroyed all unsold copies of Alms for Jihad by Robert Collins and J. Millard Burr, because the book made essentially the same allegations. But France's foreign intelligence agency has recently revealed that as long ago as 1996 Mr. bin Mahfouz was known as one of the architects of a banking scheme constructed for the benefit of Osama bin Laden -- and that both U.S. and British intelligence services knew this.

The most notorious attempt at legal intimidation of all may be the Flying Imams case, in which six imams are suing US Airways because they were removed from a flight for suspicious behavior....

This points to a fundamental weakness of Islam. It does not have enough faith in its message to debate issues with opponents. Instead it must silent them through tantrums or more violent means. It is one reason that Islamic countries have done so poorly over the last 600 years. the absence of debate means that intelligent argument is avoided and only the view of the most violent is heard or prevails. The most violent are rarely the smartest. They tend to be emotionally immature, and lack the communication skills to persuade through reason. That is one reason they resort to terrorism to "persuade."


Chinese Christianity vibrant

Ten thousand Chinese become Christians each day, according to a stunning report by the National Catholic Reporter's veteran correspondent John Allen, and 200 million Chinese may comprise the world's largest concentration of Christians by mid-century, and the largest missionary force in history. [1] If you read a single news article about China this year, make sure it is this one. I suspect that even the most enthusiastic accounts err on the downside, and that Christianity will have become a Sino-centric religion two generations from now. China may be for the 21st century what Europe was during the 8th-11th centuries, and America has been during the past 200 years: the natural ground for mass evangelization. If this occurs, the world will change beyond our capacity to recognize it. Islam might defeat the western Europeans, simply by replacing their diminishing numbers with immigrants, but it will crumble beneath the challenge from the East.

China, devoured by hunger so many times in its history, now feels a spiritual hunger beneath the neon exterior of its suddenly great cities. Four hundred million Chinese on the prosperous coast have moved from poverty to affluence in a single generation, and 10 million to 15 million new migrants come from the countryside each year, the greatest movement of people in history. Despite a government stance that hovers somewhere between discouragement and persecution, more than 100 million of them have embraced a faith that regards this life as mere preparation for the next world. Given the immense effort the Chinese have devoted to achieving a tolerable life in the present world, this may seem anomalous. On the contrary: it is the great migration of peoples that prepares the ground for Christianity, just as it did during the barbarian invasions of Europe during the Middle Ages.

Last month's murder of reverend Bae Hyung-kyu, the leader of the missionaries still held hostage by Taliban kidnappers in Afghanistan, drew world attention to the work of South Korean Christians, who make up nearly 30% of that nation's population and send more evangelists to the world than any country except the United States. This is only a first tremor of the earthquake to come, as Chinese Christians turn their attention outward. Years ago I speculated that if Mecca ever is razed, it will be by an African army marching north; now the greatest danger to Islam is the prospect of a Chinese army marching west.

People do not live in a spiritual vacuum; where a spiritual vacuum exists, as in western Europe and the former Soviet Empire, people simply die, or fail to breed. In the traditional world, people see themselves as part of nature, unchangeable and constant, and worship their surroundings, their ancestors and themselves. When war or economics tear people away from their roots in traditional life, what once appeared constant now is shown to be ephemeral. Christianity is the great liquidator of traditional society, calling individuals out of their tribes and nations to join the ekklesia, which transcends race and nation. In China, communism leveled traditional society, and erased the great Confucian idea of society as an extension of the loyalties and responsibility of families. Children informing on their parents during the Cultural Revolution put paid to that.

Now the great migrations throw into the urban melting pot a half-dozen language groups who once lived isolated from one another. Not for more than a thousand years have so many people in the same place had such good reason to view as ephemeral all that they long considered to be fixed, and to ask themselves: "What is the purpose of my life?"

The World Christian Database offers by far the largest estimate of the number of Chinese Christians at 111 million, of whom 90% are Protestant, mostly Pentecostals. Other estimates are considerably lower, but no matter; what counts is the growth rate. This uniquely American denomination, which claims the inspiration to speak in tongues like Jesus' own disciples and to prophesy, is the world's fastest-growing religious movement, with 500,000 adherents. In contrast to Catholicism, which has a very long historic presence in China but whose growth has been slow, charismatic Protestantism has found its natural element in an atmosphere of official suppression. Barred from churches, Chinese began worshipping in homes, and five major "house church" movements and countless smaller ones now minister to as many as 100 million Christians. [2] This quasi-underground movement may now exceed in adherents the 75 million members of the Chinese Communist Party; in a generation it will be the most powerful force in the country.

While the Catholic Church has worked patiently for independence from the Chinese government, which sponsors a "Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association" with government-appointed bishops, the evangelicals have no infrastructure to suppress and no hierarchy to protect. In contrast to Catholic caution, John Allen observes, "Most Pentecostals would obviously welcome being arrested less frequently, but in general they are not waiting for legal or political reform before carrying out aggressive evangelization programs."

The most audacious even dream of carrying the gospel beyond the borders of China, along the old Silk Road into the Muslim world, in a campaign known as "Back to Jerusalem". As [Time correspondent David] Aikman explains in Jesus in Beijing, some Chinese evangelicals and Pentecostals believe that the basic movement of the gospel for the last 2,000 years has been westward: from Jerusalem to Antioch, from Antioch to Europe, from Europe to America, and from America to China. Now, they believe, it's their turn to complete the loop by carrying the gospel to Muslim lands, eventually arriving in Jerusalem. Once that happens, they believe, the gospel will have been preached to the entire world. Aikman reports that two Protestant seminaries secretly are training missionaries for deployment in Muslim countries.

Where traditional society remains entrenched in China's most backward regions, Islam also is expanding. At the edge of the Gobi Desert and on China's western border with Central Asia, Islam claims perhaps 30 million adherents. If Christianity is the liquidator of traditional society, I have argued in the past, Islam is its defender against the encroachments of leveling imperial expansion. But Islam in China remains the religion of the economic losers, whose geographic remoteness isolates them from the economic transformation on the coasts. Christianity, by contrast, has burgeoned among the new middle class in China's cities, where the greatest wealth and productivity are concentrated. Islam has a thousand-year presence in China and has grown by natural increase rather than conversion; evangelical Protestantism had almost no adherents in China a generation ago.

China's Protestants evangelized at the risk of liberty and sometimes life, and possess a sort of fervor not seen in Christian ranks for centuries. Their pastors have been beaten and jailed, and they have had to create their own institutions through the "house church" movement. Two years ago I warned that China would have to wait for democracy. [3] I wrote:

For a people to govern itself, it first must want to govern itself and want to do so with a passion. It also must know how to do so. Democracy requires an act of faith, or rather a whole set of acts of faith. The individual citizen must believe that a representative sitting far away in the capital will listen to his views, and know how to band together with other citizens to make their views known. That is why so-called civil society, the capillary network of associations that manage the ordinary affairs of life, is so essential to democracy. Americans elect their local school boards, create volunteer fire brigades and raise and spend tax dollars at the local level to provide parks or sewers.

China's network of house churches may turn out to be the leaven of democracy, like the radical Puritans of England who became the Congregationalists of New England. Freedom of worship is the first precondition for democracy, for it makes possible freedom of conscience. The fearless evangelists at the grassroots of China will, in the fullness of time, do more to bring US-style democracy to the world than all the nation-building bluster of President George W Bush and his advisers.


Australia: Compensation case shows that the Leftist "stolen generation" claim is a myth

Is Bruce Trevorrow, awarded $525,000 in the Supreme Court, the proof of the so-called stolen generation? It is the opposite that is true. Bruce Trevorrow, a part-Aboriginal now living in Bairnsdale, was stolen from his parents after being raced to hospital on Christmas Day 1957. Yes, stolen. Over the next few years the little boy was mentally destroyed. Said an Aboriginal woman who tried to foster him in his teens, it seemed he'd never known love. That loss near drove him mad and broke him, and it was for such suffering that Justice Tom Gray of the South Australian Supreme Court last week awarded him $525,000.

The media reports all hailed this as a breakthrough not just for Trevorrow himself: " 'Stolen Generation' Aborigine wins test case", was a typical headline. But is this - the first court case won by a member of the so-called "stolen generations" - really proof at last that what I've so often called a "myth" is true? The opposite, perversely.

Trevorrow won not by proving there was indeed a government policy to steal black children from good homes for racist reasons. He won it by actually proving there was not - or at least not in South Australia.

First, a reminder of what "stolen generations" means. Historian, Professor Peter Read, who invented the phrase, said it refers to the 100,000 or so children our governments allegedly stole in an "attempt to put an end to the Aboriginal people of Australia". Political scientist, Professor Robert Manne, the myth's greatest propagandist, says these were actually 25,000 children, stolen by governments that "wished, in part through the child removal policies, to keep white Australia pure". Insisted Manne: "It was not from harm that the mixed-descent children were rescued, but from their Aboriginality".

So, was there really a government policy to steal Bruce Trevorrow from his parents just because he was black? Just to keep white Australia "pure"? Here's what Justice Gray found really happened. It was Christmas 50 years ago when Joe Trevorrow left his hut of scrap iron and sacks on the Coorong to ask his neighbours - relatives of his partner, Thora - to drive his sick baby to Adelaide's children's hospital. They had a car; he didn't.

Neither Joe nor Thora - who'd stormed off to Tailem Bend after a family argument - went with their child, or visited him in the two weeks he was kept in hospital. Who knows what Thora's relatives told the doctors, but the hospital's notes say the baby, Bruce Trevorrow, was a "neglected child - without parents", suffering from "malnutrition" and "infective diarrhoea"'. The notes add: "The other two children are neglected. Mother has cleared out and father is boozing." This is the baby that just two weeks later was given to an Adelaide family, which were told its mother had "gone on a walkabout".

Unforgiveably, Joe and Thora were never asked for permission to give away their baby. And they were lied to when, six months later, Thora wrote to the Aborigines Protection Board, the official guardian of all Aboriginal children, asking to know when she'd get Bruce back, "as I have not forgot I got a baby in there". The reply, from the APB's Marjory Angas, claimed Bruce was "making good progress but as yet the doctor does not consider him fit to go home". What Bruce's parents did not know is that it seems to have been Angas herself who'd already given away their baby - and that she'd done this against the law.

As Gray ruled: "Mrs Angas may have been well-intentioned ... but was well aware, or ought to have been aware, that the removal of the plaintiff from his family, and his placement with the Davies family, was undertaken in circumstances that were understood to be without legal authority, beyond power and contrary to authoritative legal advice." That illegality, said Gray, was why Bruce Trevorrow deserved a payout.

The picture the judge paints over many pages is compelling: South Australia never had any laws -- or policies - authorising anyone to steal Aboriginal children for racist reasons. Gray noted, for instance, that in 1923, as South Australia passed a law to help neglected Aboriginal children, the then treasurer assured Parliament: "The dictates of humanity forbid the state to deprive mothers of their infant children in cases where their mothers desire to keep them." The treasurer added: "(T)he provision in the Bill (to remove older children) is designed only to be used in cases where an illegitimate child is ill-cared for by its parents."

But there was a hitch. In 1949, the Crown Solicitor confirmed that the law did not let APB officials take Aboriginal children from their parents. That was the job of the Children's Welfare and Public Relief Board, which looked after children of all races, but wasn't so keen to remove neglected Aborigines. It found them hard to help. In that standoff, Aboriginal children seem to me to have been less in danger of being stolen than left to rot. Justice Gray gives examples - like the baby brought to Port Augusta Hospital in 1955 in "an advanced state of malnutrition". Her mother was shown how to look after her child, yet it came back again "in a shocking state". Despite the pleas of doctors to take her into care, this baby was not "stolen", but sent back home to God knows what fate.

In 1958, the year after Bruce Trevorrow was taken, the APB's secretary described the tragedy he confronted. "I feel sure that a higher mortality rate is evident among Aboriginal children than those of other descent," he wrote to a colleague. "Unfortunately, there is a considerable amount of undernourishment, malnutrition and neglect. "In fact, quite frequently (Aborigines) do not seem to worry whether the child is fed or not." Yet "there is not a high proportion of aboriginal children who are wards of the state, simply because our legislation does not provide that neglected children can be removed".

Still, his officials couldn't always stand by and do nothing. Admitted the secretary: "Again in confidence, for some years without legal authority, the Board have taken charge of many Aboriginal children, some are placed with Aboriginal institutions, which by the way I very much dislike, and others are placed with foster parents. "As often as possible we arranged for this type of child to be adopted, necessarily of course, with the authority of the parents."

How many children had the APB removed? Some 300 over the years, taken because they were - Gray found - "thought to be neglected". Note: not because Australia had to be kept "pure". This practice seems to have stopped by the end of the 1950s. So why did Marjory Angas, in 1957, decide to steal Bruce Trevorrow? So, if there wasn't a policy to steal black children for racist reasons, does Angas show that APB officials still had racism in their hearts?

Angas is dead, and cannot defend herself. But Gray suggested she was just "relatively inexperienced" and "unwittingly prejudiced" against the baby's parents. Gray didn't explain that "prejudice", but assumed it from such scraps as a letter Angas wrote in mid-1957 in an inquiry into Joseph's daughters by his first wife. "We understand (Joseph) is illiterate and an habitual drunkard," Angas wrote. "Conditions in this camp are reported as most undesirable for children." What's more, Joseph had no job and Thora often had to beg for help for her children.

Gray has ruled that almost all of this is false. Joseph may have drank, but was no drunk, and he often worked. "The children were adequately clothed and fed. Thora was a loving mother who cared for children and the home." She hadn't "cleared off " for good. What's more, Gray found that the doctors who thought Bruce had suffered from malnutrition had probably been confused by his weight loss from diarrhoea. In fact, Gray even praised Joseph and Thora as "good parents", who raised their three remaining children so well they "learnt to cope with life's adversities and flourished". Had Bruce been left with them, the judge bravely suggests, he could well have flourished too. Certainly, it's impossible to think the boy could have done worse.

His new family loved him, but at three he was already losing hair in what now seems an early sign of depression. At eight he was stealing, and soiling his pants nearly every day in the walk back from school. His adoptive mother, under some apparent mental stress herself, often threatened to send him away. Psychologists were called in, and at 10 he was introduced back to his real mother, Thora (Joseph had died). After a couple of hurried visits, he was asked to decide which family to choose. He didn't really know. No wonder he turned out a wreck, chronically anxious. But back with Thora and several boisterous and older half-brothers and sisters, he seemed overwhelmed. After several tense months, he stole from his teachers and was beaten up so badly by an enraged Thora that a policeman had to take him away for his safety. She didn't want him back.

So by 11, Bruce found he was not wanted by either of his two families. He stayed for most of the rest of his youth in institutions and on tranquilisers and anti-depressants. Not surprisingly, his adult life has been deeply troubled, marred by booze, crime and even jail. It is easy for us now to moralise about how wicked Marjory Angas was to even think of taking Bruce from his parents. But should Gray have been quite that glowing of the parenting skills of Thora, and so sure she'd have raised her baby so much better?

Angas acted unlawfully, immorally and unwisely, but she may have had some reason to think Bruce was better off adopted. Consider: Thora, it seems, was indeed set to clear out when Bruce was taken, despite what the judge said. Just four months later, she'd left her family and married a wife-bashing drunk. A welfare officer later reported she was living with her children in a shack in "shocking circumstances" and, when she was reunited with Bruce, she gave him up within a year. It was in that same year that one of her other sons was sent to a boys' home after Thora was convicted of failing to send him to school.

And Joseph? One of his children by his first marriage went to a home for young offenders and another was jailed. His two sons with Thora had their own battles with booze and the law. When Thora walked out, Joseph left his two young sons with a local woman who was, police warned, too old for the job and had "mental troubles", which could "endanger the lives" of the boys. Nothing was done to help them until months later, when the woman told police to send the boys to an institution - which Joseph refused to allow.

There's more - not enough to excuse the taking of Bruce, but enough to make the cautious wonder how a young boy, already slightly brain damaged and sensitive, would have coped with being left where he was. Was Angas so wicked - so racist - to want better for him, however terribly her dumb gamble turned out? I excuse nothing, of course. A tragedy as monstrous as this is hard enough to understand, let alone to judge. But when the eager look at this case and shout, "Aha! Proof of the stolen generations! Of a plot to destroy Aborigines!", I know enough to know they know little.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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